Issue 400 | December 23, 2016
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The WRAP Blog
by: Russell Jowell

Welcome to The WRAP Weekly newsletter.  Feel free to look around and thank you for being a loyal reader.

The WRAP Up
Last week we certified 19 factories in 8 countries:
Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Honduras, India, Madagascar, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

As of the sending of this newsletter, there are 2,308 factories with current WRAP certificates around the world employing 2,090,210 workers.

This will be the final newsletter of 2016, and we are very proud to end the year with our 400th issue! We thank you for your continued support!

WRAP's U.S. office will be closed December 26-January 2 in observance of the Christmas holiday. We will reopen on January 3.
This Week's Headlines
Upcoming Events

January 24-27, 2017
Orlando, Florida, USA


Bangladesh
bangladeshBangladeshi paramilitary forces were called to respond to a massive protest pushing for an increase in the minimum wage on December 21. The protest involved thousands of workers and forced over 50 factories in the Ashulia area to cease production. Workers say they are pushing for a Tk. 10,000 (US$126) monthly minimum wage. ( Yahoo! News)

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has announced a new partnership with BRAC University and the C&A Foundation aimed at creating digital mapping of the country's readymade garment sector. The initiative will focus on creating a detailed database of factories in the country and using that data to create an interactive online map which will also include data like number of workers and product types. ( Apparel Resources)

Canada
The government of Canada has proposed new regulations aimed at protecting children from lead and cadmium in jewelry and other products including apparel. Health Canada says that the proposal would strengthen current limits on lead in consumer products and set regulatory limits for cadmium in children's jewelry. The proposals are currently open for public feedback until February 15, 2017. ( Just Style) *NOTICE: This article requires a paid subscription

France
French sportswear company Kering is the first to have its emissions reduction plan approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative, a global initiative that helps companies reduce their negative impacts on climate change. The company says it plans to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2025 and focus on reducing the impacts of its transportation and distribution networks. Officials with the initiative applaud the company and say their goals are "ambitious but achievable." ( Apparel Resources)

India
indiaIndia's Textile Minister Smriti Irani says that the country's textile workers will be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the country's recent decision to depreciate the 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, noting that the rise of digital payments will help bring transparency and greater compliance to wage payments. Irani noted that her administration was also actively pushing to help workers open bank accounts and give them payment cards. ( Fibre2Fashion)

Garment exports from India are poised for growth in 2017-18, according to the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC). The group commended the government for passing a "wonderful" textile industry legislative package earlier this year that they say will help them exceed the US$30 billion export goal over the next 3 years. The head of the AEPC also noted that textile and apparel exports accounted for 15% of India's total exports in 2015-16, a 2% increase from the previous period. ( Fibre2Fashion)

India's Textile Minister Smriti Irani says that textile professionals and industry experts need to fight for the idea that silk is a "unigender" fabric not just reserved for women. Speaking at the inauguration of a new Centre of Excellence, Irani said that viewing silk as a "women's only" fabric is a "narrow approach" and that the industry should push for silk diversification. India produces an estimated 28,000 tons of silk a year. ( Fibre2Fashion)

Pakistan
pakistanThe All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) recently convened an emergency meeting to urge Pakistan's government to implement uniform energy prices across the country, relieving a disparity that they say is hurting the entire industry. APTMA leaders say that production facilities in the Punjab region are being especially hurt by the discrepancy, a fact that puts them at a disadvantage when compared to other Pakistan facilities. The APTMA says a recent decision by the Economic Coordination Committee to reduce the price of natural gas triggered the issue. ( Fibre2Fashion)

Pakistan says it will temporarily stop duty-free cotton imports until its domestic crop is fully sold, according to the country's Food Security and Research Minister. The government has noted in the past that it wants to work toward protecting the interests of local farmers who are being pinched by a dwindling supply of cropland. The minister also emphasized that the ban on imports is only temporary. ( Fibre2Fashion)

Sri Lanka
srilankaOver 140 workers at the Tri Star apparel factory in Sri Lanka have staged a demonstration against a number of allegations including unpaid wages, delayed salaries, and failure to contribute to social security. Union representatives say that the strike was triggered by a major delay in salary payments last month and allegations that factory managers had suspended union organizers from the facility. Workers are now demanding immediate payment of all owed wages. ( Apparel Resources)

United States
usaThe U.S. government has published its first National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct (RBC). The plan was first announced in 2014 by President Barack Obama as a way to "promote and incentivize" responsible business practices. Based on similar guidelines issued by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations, the plan focuses on five areas including government procurement and public-private cooperation. ( Just Style /  White House) *NOTICE: Just Style article requires a paid subscription

A new report from McKinsey and Company says that fashion has been a "key value-creating industry" for the world market despite a greater economic slowdown in 2016. The report notes that all of the "economic profit" generated by the industry comes from the top 20% of global brands, while the bottom 20% of brands have actually posted a net loss. The top market segments in 2016 included "affordable luxury" and "value." ( Fibre2Fashion)

KnowTheChain, a San Francisco-based company that works with businesses and investors on issues of labor abuse, has released a new ranking of apparel and footwear companies doing the most to prevent forced labor and human trafficking in their supply chains. Athletic company Adidas led the list, followed by Gap, H&M, and Lululemon. ( Vamp Footwear)

Athletic apparel and footwear company Nike says it is working on an "express lane" supply chain effort to help get new products to consumers faster. The company's CEO says that the initiative is an important "competitive advantage" because speed matters to consumers. The company notes that it tested the new concept on its "LunarChange" footwear line. ( Sourcing Journal) *NOTICE: This article requires a free subscription

Source Intelligence (SI), a company focused on expediting the exchange of social compliance information, has announced a new partnership with inspection firm SGS. The company says that the new collaboration will provide customers with a "one-stop solution to collect and analyze supplier compliance data" to ensure facilities are meeting regulations and ethical sourcing objectives. SGS representatives reciprocated the enthusiasm saying that they are looking forward to using SI's technology to help provide better inspections. ( Business Wire

Zambia
Leaders in Zambia's government say that the textile and leather sectors have the potential to boost the country's growth and significantly contribute toward wealth creation. Speaking at the country's Leather and Textile Expo, the country's Minister of Commerce and Trade noted that the government does need to provide more support to the industry if it hopes to achieve its full wealth potential. ( Fibre2Fashion)
About WRAP
Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, USA, with regional offices in Hong Kong, SAR, and Dhaka, Bangladesh, full-time staff in India and Southeast Asia (Thailand and Vietnam), and for Latin America, WRAP is an independent, objective, non-profit team of global social compliance experts dedicated to promoting safe, lawful, humane, and ethical manufacturing around the world through certification and education. To learn more about WRAP, please visit  www.wrapcompliance.org .

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